Thanks to all who participated in our recent survey about how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted your lives and your ability to get around the Kansas City metro on-bike and on-foot. The results are in and, as we anticipated, lots of you are biking and walking now more than ever:
This input matches trends being seen nationally and globally, with bike shops selling out of bikes and experiencing high demand for services, and “Open Streets” projects popping up from Bogotá to Oakland. While the pandemic is a catastrophe on so many levels, one small bright spot is this: biking and walking benefits everyone.
Walking and biking are healthy activities that families can do together to benefit minds, bodies, and spirits. And less traffic (or in the case of Open Streets, sometimes no car traffic at all) provides space for people to safely distance from each other while walking and biking.
That said, for many essential workers – a group that disproportionately resides in the metro’s low-income zip codes – traveling on foot or by bike is not new. A lack car ownership in many of these communities was already near 40%, and many of these communities have broken or missing sidewalks, are adjacent to high-traffic (high speed) intersections, and/or have high rates of pre-existing health disparities.
This is why the work of BikeWalkKC and our partners has not and will not change. We must build on the momentum of those embracing walking and biking during this pandemic and keep it going to influence positive change to our city’s built environment. We must work with city leaders to enact projects and policies that protect our region’s most vulnerable populations. We must educate today’s youth so they can be safe and confident while walking, biking, or using transit. We must keep our RideKC Bike and Scooter share program equitable and aligned with public transit goals of getting people to and from services, jobs, education, and opportunities. And we must study, build data, and demonstrate the long term impacts of the increased rates of biking and walking will impact Kansas City well into the future.
We are grateful to our funders, donors, members, and partners who support enable our work, and invite you to be among them if you’re not already. Visit www.bikewalkkc.org/getinvolved to learn how you can help create places for people.